Madroño 20: 209, fig. 1. 1970.
Herbs, perennial, (1–) 1.6–4.5 dm; from a woody caudex; with a taproot. Stems several to many, ascending to erect, ± decumbent at base, branched or unbranched, sometimes with short, leafy axillary shoots, hairs spreading to ascending, long, soft to ± stiff, mixed with short-eglandular ones. Leaves purple or green, linear-lanceolate to lanceolate, 3–5 cm, not fleshy, margins plane, partly involute, 3–5-lobed, apex acuminate, acute, or rounded; lobes sometimes divergent, spreading-ascending, linear, apex obtuse to rounded. Inflorescences (2.5–) 5–15 × 1.5–2 cm; bracts proximally green to dull purplish, distally pale reddish purple, dull red, pale salmon, pale orange, or bright to pale-yellow, oblong, 3 (–5) -lobed; lobes spreading to ascending, linear to oblanceolate, distal pair, if present, short and toothlike, short to long, arising at or above mid length, center lobe apex rounded to truncate, lateral lobes obtuse to rounded. Calyces proximally usually whitish, distally colored as bracts, 13–18 mm; abaxial and adaxial clefts 5–6 (–9) mm, ca. 50% of calyx length, deeper than laterals, lateral 0.5–1.2 mm, ca. 18% of calyx length; lobes ± hemispheric, segments often curved outwards, exposing corollas, apex rounded to obtuse, rarely acute. Corollas straight, 11–16 mm; tube 10–13 mm; beak included or tip exserted; beak adaxially green, 4–5 mm; abaxial lip deep green, reduced, with narrow pouches, 2.5–3 mm, 30–45% as long as beak; teeth reduced to minute apiculations, dark green, 0.5–1 mm. 2n = 24.
Phenology: Flowering Jun–Aug.
Habitat: Dry gravelly meadows and flats, with Artemisia rothrockii, often over granite.
Elevation: 2200–3400 m.
Castilleja praeterita is endemic to subalpine, sagebrush-dominated meadows in the southeastern Sierra Nevada of Inyo and Tulare counties. It is closely associated with and likely parasitic on Artemisia rothrockii. Inflorescence coloration varies by population, with some having only yellow-bracted plants, while others are pale orange to pale red with occasional pale yellow variants. Yet other populations have only pale salmon-colored bracts.
"arising" is not a number.